Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Glory Days

As a day symbolic of the disastrous state of Cleveland sports comes to end, I found these highlights of perhaps my favorite team of all time. Led by Bernie, Kevin Mack, and Reggie Langhorn, we get a glimpse of real football, a true offense that is a glaring contrast to the debacle this organization puts on the field currently.

Although we all know how it ends, these clips remind us of how great a comeback it was in that AFC championship in Denver... or would've been... and what a great offense we had once here in Cleveland.

What a day in Cleveland Sports...

Delonte West away from the Cavaliers on an unexcused absence for the second straight day.

Indians fire Eric Wedge, still with a week to go in a disastrous season.

Browns bench their first round draft pick quarterback Brady Quinn after three disastrous starts, going back to a guy who threw three second-half interceptions Sunday against the Ravens, Derek Anderson.

This about sums it up.  LeBron signing a lifetime contract would just about balance the day out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Doug Lesmerises' Poll Logic

I love it.  I hate preseason polls.  All the Florida whiners should just shut up and let the season play out.  Who cares what your ranking is on September 22?

Here's his detailed explanation of his rankings, including a justification of some serious anomalies from the rest of the AP voters.  This shows that he put serious thought into his ballot.

Here's his poll.  I'll post a comparison link from Pollspeak when it's available.

1. Alabama
2. Miami
3. Houston
4. Cincinnati
5. Florida
6. Boise State
7. Texas
8. LSU
9. Cal
10. Michigan
11. Auburn
12. UCLA
13. Virginia Tech
14. Florida State
15. Penn State
16. Missouri
17. North Carolina
18. TCU
19. Oklahoma State
20. BYU
21. Oklahoma
22. Ohio State
23. Iowa
24. Mississippi
25. USC

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Michigan Fan told me...

Today a Michigan fan told me that the complaints about Jim Tressel's coaching sound exactly like the complaints near the end of the Lloyd Carr era.

Lost weekend

Not a good 24 hours for CST’s two favorite football teams: An agonizing loss by Ohio State followed by a not unexpected, but still depressing performance by the Browns. I could complain about the play calling in both games (and I will), but what it comes down to for both of our beloved squads is an obvious lack of offensive talent.

Let’s start with the Buckeyes: To continue Pucky’s point, Tressel seems to have let the game pass him by. This is not 2002 anymore, coach. This is the text-happy, Facebook-fellating “get it now” era of 2009, where Kanye West can bust in on any award ceremony he so chooses, and where ball control offense and playing for field position don’t work against top-5 programs with monstrous speed and athleticism. Eventually, you’re going to get burned, and that’s what happened Saturday night.

Tressel may not trust Pryor enough let him air it out for an entire game, but he’s got to let him try. Why put shackles on the Buckeyes most potent weapon? Pryor still tosses flutter-balls from his back foot, but I’d rather have him throw to untested receivers while there’s no Beanie Wells or Maurice Clarett safety valve around to pick up key yards on the ground. Put simply, “three yards and a cloud of dust” doesn’t work when your quarterback is also your best running back.

And I suppose that’s the real problem with these Buckeyes. The skill players are either young or inexperienced, and I’m hard-pressed to point to Ohio State’s second best offensive player after Pryor. It’s true that the Buckeyes lost to the better, more athletic team, but a bit more imagination from Tressel would have resulted in a big win against a top opponent, just what this program needs to polish its somewhat tarnished legacy.

Sunday brought us another head-smackingly schizophrenic performance by the Browns. The team was lively in the first half, and from a defensive standpoint I loved seeing Coach Ryan run a few blitzes from the secondary. The running game picked up chunks of yards, opening up some nice pitch-and-catch action from Brady Quinn to tight end Robert Royal.

I can pick the precise point when the tide turned, and you probably can, too. After the Edwards interference play, why the hell did the Browns run two straight up-the-middle runs with Josh Cribbs in the so-called “flash” package. Why not give it to Jamal Lewis, who was running very well at that point, or let Quinn run some play action? I’d think the formation with Cribbs would work better in space, not so much at the goal line. Those two plays were not only predictable, they were run right into the teeth of one of the better defensive front sevens in the NFL.

I also question the conservative play calling at the end of the first half. Quinn stood there at his own 40, audibling like Peyton Manning while time ticked away. Quinn took the snap and simply slid to the turf, essentially killing the rest of the clock. That’s weak sauce, man.

Mangini must really distrust Quinn if he’s not allowing him to take a shot down field at that point in the game. Perhaps that distrust is not unearned from what I saw of Quinn yesterday (the game-killing second-half interception was terrible recognition on Quinn’s part), but at this juncture in the franchise’s existence we need to see what we have under center. Mangini cannot baby Quinn with dinks and dunks ala Charlie Frye. It’s going to take a whole season to see if Quinn is a gamer, or just keeping the spot warm for Colt McCoy.

The questions about our golden boy QB echo throughout the offense (and throughout the entire roster for that matter). I will belabor this point until hell freezes over, or until this team can play consistently for consecutive quarters. I ask you again, Dear Reader, who are the Browns offensive playmakers? Lewis? Edwards? Cribbs? Quinn? James Davis? Too many questions, too few answers.

So, what exactly is ailing our two favorite football teams? Is it the coaching, or an overall lack of talent? I’ll take Door #2 - for in the upper echelons of sport, talent, or lack thereof, is what usually wins or loses the day.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Ohio State Problem

Saturday night's game showed that the defense of Ohio State was more
than up to the task of competing with the potent Trojans (despite
their freshman QB). But it exposed one thing, and convinced many
people of another.

1. I've felt for a couple years that the vaunted "Tressel ball" of
field position and mind-numbingly boring games, often too close with
weaker opponents and as of late not enough for big-name opponents, is
not working. Troy Smith's magic covered up some of that but during his
years, but the pattern remains. Last night the Buckeyes were so
conservative, kicking 2 field goals on fourth and short, and passing
up a 53 yard attempt (within range) to punt on another 4th-and-one.
The Trojans, on the other hand, got 3rd and 4th downs at ease all
night long, even though they were generally kept in check most of the

The game was boring, and it didn't need to be that way

2. The second thing is that Terrell Pryor looked young and
inexperienced. In the first quarter he made some nice throws (despite
the INT) but for some reason wasn't able to regain that momentum the
rest of the game. Way too many flipped long sideline passes, not
enough quick slants and crosses. He's 6'5" for pete's sake! He can
see over the line!